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Opening in Florence: The Franco Zeffirelli International Centre for the Performing Arts

July 6, 2017 -

On 1 September 2017 The Franco Zeffirelli International Centre for the Performing Arts will open to the public.

Housed in the historic San Firenze complex in Florence, Italy, it marks the fulfillment of a dream by the award-winning director and producer, pursued over the course of an extraordinary 70-year career.

An unparalleled centre for exhibitions, education, training and documentation, the official inauguration will take place on Monday, 31 July 2017, attended by figures from the worlds inhabited by Franco Zeffirelli during his long life and career: theatre, cinema, opera and music, as well as politics and culture.

“All the papers, notes and sketches concerning my work are part of my archive, which I have chosen to give to Florence,” emphasized Franco Zeffirelli, in attendance at the press conference, “by creating a Foundation so that my city, repository of priceless and unparalleled artistic and cultural values, may enjoy its own patrimony of the performing arts.

A testimony aimed mainly at the new generations, not as a gesture of self-celebration but as the summa of a working methodology, from initial idea to developmental stages and through to staging, offering them with a few basic – outmoded – rules worth respecting to achieve authenticity in a performance.

This is my way of seeking to repay the debt of gratitude I owe to Florence, my principle duty, gained in life through my work, of regarding this city as a driving force of civilisation, culture, tradition and knowledge that God gave to the world.

This recognition is not only dictated by the documentation of everything that I have done and that I am proud to hand over to my fellow citizens; it is a gesture that I hope will contribute towards upholding the pledge to look after our treasures and our souls following, through centuries of progress, discoveries and conquests, the strong and simple line indicated by Florentines of a time of which we should consider ourselves heirs for the future.”

The City of Florence pays tribute to Franco Zeffirelli by hosting the entire life and works of its citizen, a man who has always been an international ambassador of Florence and Italy, in the central San Firenze complex. The building is owned by the City of Florence.

The official inauguration will take place on 31 July 2017 in the San Firenze complex, attended by national and local authorities as well as leading personalities from the world of show business, friends and colleagues of Franco Zeffirelli. A detailed list will be provided in the lead-up to the event.

The “Voices of Haiti” Choir will perform at the 31 July preview, a project backed by the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, encouraging talent as an expression of artistic potential. The choir, comprising of 60 talented children from the shanty towns of Haiti’s Port au Prince, with Maestro Andrea Bocelli, will perform a varied international repertoire. Further information about the 31 July preview will be released in the lead-up to the event.

The Franco Zeffirelli International Centre for the Performing Arts offers exhibition and educational activities, promoting culture associated with the art of show business and educating students in the disciplines of theatre, opera and cinema, in Florence, Italy, a cradle of culture for centuries. The Centre vaunts a hall for concerts and film projections, classrooms and workshop spaces.

The project was made possible thanks to the non-profit Fondazione Franco Zeffirelli, which provided the archive, library and all of the works that document the director and producer’s long and successful career. The Foundation financed the renovation of these spaces with an initial investment of 3.3 million euros.

The City of Florence, which owns the property, granted a subsidized rental fee as an acknowledgment of the cultural nature of the project. Generous supporters of the project include Russian entrepreneur Mikhail Kusnirovich, through his brands Gum department store in Moscow’s Red Square and Bosco dei Ciliegi; the family of the American-Canadian financier Robert Friedland; and technical sponsors Targetti S.p.A. and Illum S.r.l.

Of notable interest is the partnership between the Fondazione Franco Zeffirelli and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization, including issues such as stability, the environment, human rights, peace and democracy for almost one billion people through political dialogue. For the first time ever, professional actors representing the Foundation participated in a simulated activity against human trafficking at CoESPU in Vicenza from 5 to 9 June 2017. The actors took on roles as human traffickers and victims to elicit an incisive, coordinated reaction from stakeholders, a demonstration of how acting can safeguard human rights.


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